Blues would make a big mistake if they traded Kevin Shattenkirk

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This is part of St. Louis Blues day at PHT …

We’ve seen some twists and turns in the “Will they or won’t they?” saga regarding the St. Louis Blues trading Kevin Shattenkirk.

The truth is, it shouldn’t even be a discussion. Shattenkirk is far too valuable to be shipped away in what would likely be a panic move.

The main issue for the Blues is that Shattenkirk needs a new contract after 2016-17, and it’s easy to flinch at what would likely be a big jump from his bargain $4.25 million cap hit.

Easier to stomach than you might realize

Still, the situation is a lot more manageable now than it looked heading into the off-season.

St. Louis let David Backes and Troy Brouwer walk. There’s not a big hike for Brian Elliott looming any longer after they traded him, too. Jaden Schwartz‘s extension didn’t break the bank.

Yes, they’ll need to lock up Alexander Steen, but Steen is 32 and Shattenkirk is 27. By GM Doug Armstrong’s logic regarding letting Backes leave, wouldn’t their younger blueliner be just as valuable – if not more of a priority – as Steen?

(Colton Parayko will need a deal after next season, too, but St. Louis has the extra leverage of the blueliner being an RFA.)

Cap Friendly pegs the Blues’ 2017-18 spending at about $53.6 million. Adding Shattenkirk would likely make for a tight squeeze, but he’s worth it.

Underestimating Shattenkirk?

Maybe the real problem is that Shattenkirk isn’t treated like the core piece he should be.

A lot of people probably believe that he’s an offense-only presence, and some of those people may reside in the Blues organization.

Let’s look at how he compares to Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester via fancy charts, though.

First, the “Own the Puck” comparison for Shattenkirk vs. Pietrangelo.

shattpet

The Shattenkirk vs. Bouwmeester battle is especially lopsided:

shattbou

In both cases, Shattenkirk stands taller in shot suppression and possession categories. In Bouwmeester’s case, it’s a landslide by both offensive and defensive metrics.

Now, we can quibble about certain details. As solid-to-fantastic as his possession stats can be, he enjoys cushy zone starts and maybe some matchup advantages.

At worst, Shattenkirk stands as Pietrangelo’s near-equal and it would be tough to make an argument for Bouwmeester instead, at least at this point in their respective careers. Shattenkirk should be on the Blues’ short list of guys who would be almost impossible to pry away.

Puzzling priorities

If you were Armstrong, wouldn’t you strive to move Bouwmeester, even if you needed to get him to waive his no-trade clause and might even be forced to retain some of the 32-year-old’s $5.4 million cap hit?

Wouldn’t you note that Paul Stastny‘s $7 million cap hit expires after 2017-18, so St. Louis would get some breathing room after the first year of Shattenkirk’s hypothetical next contract?

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It’s difficult to imagine the Blues getting equal value for Shattenkirk in a trade, especially given the context of teams realizing that Armstrong isn’t necessarily dealing from a position of strength.

Frankly, the biggest problem might be that the Blues simply don’t understand Shattenkirk’s true value.